Parkinson’s Disease Support Group at Wayne Memorial
A support group for Parkinson’s patients and their families will be launched this April at Wayne Memorial Hospital. Staff at the hospital’s inpatient rehabilitation unit, a partnership with the Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network, sensed a “real need” in the community to provide Parkinson’s patients with information and resources.
“We found many of our patients who have this disease were not familiar with the disease process or the medications, services and resources available to them,” said Therapy Manager Heather Kerr, PT. “And we want to help.”
Parkinson’s disease, a neurodegenerative disorder which leads to progressive deterioration of motor function, is caused by the loss or damage of dopamine-producing cells. Dopamine helps smooth muscle movement. Without it, nerve cells fire wildly, leaving patients unable to control their movements. Symptoms usually show up as tremors or trembling in the limbs, slowness of movement, rigidity or stiffness, or postural instability and impaired balance.
The support group will meet the first Thursday of every month, beginning April 3rd, from 6:30 pm – 7:30 pm in the Wayne Memorial-Good Shepherd unit on the third floor of the hospital. Kerr and the other organizers, Janene DuBois and Sarah Serkosky, PT, will bring in speakers to talk about the disease, exercises, home care and more.
“We hope to have someone from the Michael J. Fox Foundation this summer,” said Kerr. Actor Michael J. Fox, who has Parkinson’s, started the Foundation with one goal, “to eliminate Parkinson’s in our lifetime.” Most of the donated monies go towards research for a cure.
For more information about the support group for Parkinson’s or another ongoing support group for stroke survivors, call the Wayne Memorial-Good Shepherd unit at (570) 253-8731.
Photo: Wayne Memorial-Good Shepherd staff announce the start of a Parkinson’s disease support group. Left to right: Janene DuBois, unit coordinator; Therapy Manager Heather Kerr, PT; and Sarah Serkosky, PT.